This one precious life
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“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? ”

― Mary Oliver

Happy Saturday, dear, <<Name>>. And better yet: Happy Leap Year!  Once every four years, we are granted an extra day. It’s some sort of scientific thing about the time it takes for a trip around the sun and morning pageshow we need to catch up (or is it slow down?). But in a world where we live by dates on a calendar, it’s nice to have that bonus day.

Of course, I’ve seen it co-opted by every kind of brand imaginable to try and get you to buy something. For me, though, it’s a reminder that each day holds possibility. And we get to dive into that possibility a little bit more this year.

JB was traveling again this last week. It would have been so easy to hunker down in the house until he got home – hey, it was snowy and COLD. But I learned from his previous trip that as much as I love the idea of staying home and creating a writing retreat for myself, that doesn’t always work well for my extroverted-ness.

So, I made it my mission to ensure I got out at least every other day and DID something that fueled my creativity and nurtured my soul. To be open to the possibility of the outing.

It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of possibilities or adventure that awaits us. The weather is too cold (or too hot). We’re “busy” (yet find that all we’ve done is scroll through social media). We just don’t have the time (and aren’t willing to make ourselves a priority and CHOOSE to make the time). And we let the voices of snowyjudgement (our inner critic, our sister) stop us in our tracks.

As I gazed out at the snow covered driveway (more than once this week) I pondered just skipping the adventure I’d decided upon that day (hey, going to the dry cleaners can be an adventure, too, you know). 

And there’s also this bit of self-judgement that comes up when I skip out of the house in the middle of the workday to do something “fun”. 

I reminded myself of the words I'd told a client earlier that morning about seizing life by the horns: "If not now, when?"

It's so hard sometimes to be reminded of our own inner wisdom. It' so easy to offer compassion to others, yet have an utter lack of kindness and compassion towards ourselves.

So, out I’ve gone this week. 

coffee and computerOne day I went to a coffee shop across town to work. Though I do my best work in quiet, it was nice to have some other folks around as I worked.  Another day, I drove to the park and simply sat while allowing the sun’s rays to shine on me (and was visited again by my cardinal friend). (One of my go-to moves to manage the winter days).

 And, yet another day, I ran all my errands in a more mindful way: I slowed down and strolled down each aisle, admired the array of items, and smiled at everyone I passed. (Also: does no one else look at expiration dates but me? I saw a lot of folks just toss stuff into their carts without looking….)

When I returned home each time, I realized how much more engaged I felt.

ALL that over-analyzing and agonizing in my head about skipping out on work to feed my soul with the simple act of being open to the experience before me rather than becoming a hermit.

At times, even the leisurely approach to the grocery store felt indulgent. 

Yet, how many times had I worked on the weekends? How many times had a I started the day with clients at 6 AM in the morning and was still on my computer at 7 PM? ALL that self-criticism and negative dialogue about being seen has having it too easy or not working hard enough....not gifting myself a simple hour or my cardinal friendtwo to reconnect with life and myself.

What's important is that what we are doing right now, in our day-to-day life, nourishes us and supports what we want to be and what we want to create. And that in the pursuit of what we need, we put the tools and people in place to support that.

So, the question I need to ask of myself more often is that: if not now, when. And on this leap day – this extra day shoe-horned into the calendar this year: what reminder do YOU need to seize this day. And every day?

I know I'm not the only one who puts off things I want to do. When are you going to take that vacation? When are you going to learn to play golf or knit? When are you going to write that novel? When are you going to treat Sundays as a day of rest? When are you going to take that sabbatical? 
So, darling, tell me?  When are you going to stop dreaming and thinking about what you want and actually if not now, when?just do it? What do you keep telling yourself you'll week or next year? What did you promise yourself you'd do more of this year? What did you swear to yourself you'd do less of? What are your priorities?

Have you taken a look at your goals since January? What DO you want to get accomplished before the end of 2020? What might this spring hold for you if you were to embrace that mantra of choosing now?

Remember that I'm just an email away. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.

With so much love...........

PS - This week's blog post is a little longer than usual - so I'm only including an excerpt with more delcious content in the blog.

From the blog: Self-Awareness: The Key to Creating a Life You Love.  It’s easy to say you desire to create a daily life you love, yet doing so often leaves folks feeling challenged around what they really desire. That challenge lies in the reality that we tend to live our lives on the surface, lost in our busyness and devoting our time to responsibilities. This leaves little time for the self-awareness, a process needed for diving into your heart and discovering what you most need for happiness and satisfaction.

The truth though is that the level of satisfaction around your life and your overall sense of happiness is fueled by how well you know yourself. Even if you aren’t actively seeking more self-awareness, your daily life is actually dictated by and informed by how well you do know yourself and your desires.

I’m not a fan of constant overlong navel gazing and excruciating self-analysis, because that can lend to the continued pursuit of perfection. But I can’t deny that your level of self-awareness will impact the choices you make. I’m talking both big and little choices, from how willing you are to pursue your goals, to how open to love and connection your will be, and how you respond to every up and down.

Confidence and happiness will stem from how well you know yourself.

self awareness

Yet, I know that many of the working pieces of your life feel dictated by your responsibilities, alarm clocks, and a growing list of have-to-dos. Stress, the demands of others, and overall busyness mean little downtime in your life. And when you have a smidgen of downtime – those fleeing moments of time to yourself – there’s always the lurking demands of text messages, emails, Facebook, Neflix, and more. And that’s not counting the real need to actually relax and spend some time pursuing a hobby or some sort of play.

Who, frankly, has time for diving into self-awareness?

No one has that kind of free time these days. But frankly, everyone can find a little time to gaze in the mirror and learn more about the person staring back at them.

I know that’s a bit of a oxymoron, yet I know from years of coaching and living my own life, the path to creating the kind of daily life you desire – and deserve – to live stems from carving out a bit of time to get to know the most important person in your life: yourself.

Because if you don’t find a way to dive into your own self-awareness, how can you answer those seemingly simple questions like:
  • What do I want?
  • Am I happy?
  • What am I most passionate about?
  • What would make my life feel more nourished?

Chances are, you have a quick response to all those big life questions. Yet, if you took a few moments to pause and check-in with your heart, you likely know that there is a deeper answer.

Is an epic quest the answer to real self-awareness?

I’m sure you’ve read a book or seen a movie where the main character goes on an epic journey to find themselves. It seems so glamorous, and despite some angst by that hero/heroine in the middle of the story, everything seems to draw to a happily ever after by the end. Purpose, passion, and deepest desires – often along with the perfect partner or job – arrive.

So, maybe you’re waiting to find yourself when you get time to take that epic dream trip to Paris or India or hiking through the wilderness. I can promise you that if you’re waiting for that magical trip so that the journey of self-awareness will be “easier” or more meaningful, then darling, you are wasting what precious time you have now. Because if you don’t think you have time to discover who you are because your life is so “busy” now, then I can promise you’ll likely never find the time to go on that epic adventure.

The time to live the kind of life you desire is now. Please don’t continue to waste the precious time and energy for living your life to the fullest by waiting for the perfect circumstances.

The answers aren’t hidden somewhere out there, though I admit that travel reveals who we are to ourselves. The answers also don’t depend on reading a bunch of self-help books or giving away everything you own or meditating for hours a day. Yes, all of these actions – meditation, clearing needless clutter, and books – can help you with the process, but there is a simpler way.

The best way I know to dig into that self-awareness of who you are and what you most desire is to dip your toes into the depths of yourself through an inquiry process. Sounds ominous in that way, but the core of the inquiry process is posing some bold, open-ended, and probing questions and answering them honestly.

Most of us tend to avoid vulnerability and tell ourselves a few little white lies. Yet, if I were to ask you how you can really get to know someone else, you’d say spending time with them, observing their habits, asking them questions, and listening to their answers. Answers that you hope are deeply honest.

The same goes for you.

You have to be willing to be vulnerable and honest with yourself – to gaze into the mirror and see you for how you really are.

I know from research – and experience – that vulnerability allows you to form a stronger connection with others and yourself.

And let’s not forget that other thing: honesty. It’s critical that you are honest with yourself. Even if you think your answers may sound selfish or greedy or materialistic, they aren’t. Because they are your truth.

 “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off”
–Gloria Steniheim

The answers you discover in your quest for self-awareness may make you angry, uncomfortable, or afraid. This is normal. This is why it’s important to be gentle. Just note, however, that it’s impossible to create the kind of lasting change you deeply desire without knowing exactly where you stand. 

Click here to read more - including How to  Create a Mini-Retreat for Self-Awareness AND 30 Questions to help you get started ==>

Remember that you’re in charge of your life, so it may be that a series of three or five mini-sessions and you discover that it’s time to take a break of a few weeks or even months from your self-awareness experiment. This gives you a breather – and an opportunity to begin taking some action around what you’ve discovered you desire to shift in your world.

Know that you are always growing and evolving. This process of inquiry for self-awareness is always within reach whenever you feel stuck, come up against some challenges, or simply desire to love your life more. Yes, I know that this may feel indulgent, but you, my darling, are worth getting to know.

Sometimes, you just need comfort food. And especially when you're feeding people who are needing comfort, what do you make?  When JB's brother-in-law made a last-minute visit to Dayton so that he could be with his brother in hospice, I knew I wanted to make something that was not only comforting, but also meatloafsomething that could be ready whenever he arrived. 

One of my go-to meals is MEATLOAF - and better yet - my favorite crock pot method of making meatloaf. (Note: I have a crock pot that has three settings: high, low, and warm. When the cooking time is up, it auto switches to "warm")

First, spray your crock pot with non-stick spray. And in order to set things in place, go ahead and open a 6 ounce can of tomato paste and set it aside.  (I use Muir Glen Organic for all my tomato products)

Begin with one (or two) pounds of ground beef. I usually go with grass-fed beef that's 85-to-90% lean.  Place this in a shallow bowl and spread the meat out against the sides of the bowl so that you can easily season more of the ground beef.

Sprinkle on your spices:  two teaspoons of garlic powder. one teaspoon of kosher salt, one teaspoon of chili powder, and two teaspoons of Italian Seasonings. Next add one 15 1/2 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes. Then add one diced yellow (or white) onion

For each pound of meat you use, you'll need one beaten egg and 1/2 of quick oats. To keep it gluten-free, I typically use Bob's Redmill Gluten-Free Oats. The oats and eggs together will help bind your meatloaf together. 

Mix well. You can do this with a heavy-duty rubber spatula or your hands.

Now, transfer the meat mixture into your crock pot. Again, you can use a spatula, but it's just easier to use your hands. Roughly shape it into a loaf shape. After washing your hands, use a small rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the tomato paste on top of the meat mixture.

This needs about four hours on low in your crock pot or two hours on high. I've found that if you have the "warm" feature on your crock pot, it can sit on warm for about three more hours before the edges begin to scorch.

Last week, we had the meatloaf with green salads and baked potatoes.  This also makes amazing meatloaf sandwiches with the leftovers!


Volume 10-Issue 5

February 29, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

See something you'd love to share?  I'd be honored if you forwarded this along to a friend.
Hello from Debra

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people create a daily life that is loving and nourishing.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Connect with her on social media:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.


“No matter what age or stage we are, sometimes life just isn’t everything we want it to be. This course offers amazing insight into some of the many reasons why.

Deb Smouse has prepared an intensive program to help decipher the ways we can derail our own happiness, and, most importantly, lots of concrete tips and tricks for getting back on course to Finally Love Your Life.”

Becca Rowan, Author

Bear the Light Podcast

Bear the Light Podcast

I don’t know about you, but I love listening to Podcasts. Especially when I’m taking a walk or tidying up the house. It’s a great way to learn to things, feel inspired, and finding new voices of wisdom. So, I was super thrilled to be invited by Christianne Squires to be on her “Bear the Light” podcast.

Listening in is also a good way to understand my approach to coaching. And my philosophy about life in general. While I believe the key to having a good life is falling in love with your life and self, in part, it’s also about being able to approach the desire for happiness with solid tools that support you.

(I'm also sharing my favorite quotes on light in this blog post)


I would just like to state for the record that Debra Smouse is a genius and an awesome listener, to boot.

In one phone conversation with her, I was able to verbalize, and thus realize, something that had been on the tip of my brain for weeks.  Her simple way of listening and asking led to a proverbial light bulb moment that has stayed with me for days and has helped open up new, clearer avenues of thought and feeling.

~Brandi Lee, Photographer, Small Business Owner

a year of support

Make 2020
YOUR Year with
a Year of Support

My most popular coaching package as it allows us to spend 12 months together. We build trust and get to know each other intimately.

This allows you go go as wide - or deep - as your stage of life demands.

You choose the number of sessions that fit your lifestyle (and budget) and we’ll create an amazing year together for a life you love.

Learn More  or


Gotten More Courageous 

Finally Love Your Life is an authentic and deep yet practical and fun program all wrapped up into one.  Debra’s extensive knowledge coupled with her emotive writing and ginormous heart provide the tools, support and space to explore and discover, evaluate and play. 

As a result of class, I was able to dig in and shift some major challenges that were keeping me stuck in annoying and frustrating patterns.

I also realized how little time I was devoting to having FUN and making time for simple pleasures.  With these insights and some easy changes, I have grown, gotten more courageous and have way more delight and joy in my life.

Michelle Reinhardt

Also from the Blog

If you don’t see yourself as a priority equal to the needs of others, you’ll always struggle with happiness and inner peace. If you don’t honor the commitments your heart is begging you to make, then you you will feel disappointed in yourself and dissatisfied with your life.

Read ==> Are Your Desires Always Last? Here’s 8 Steps to Make Yourself a Priority


Facing Teeny Cracks of Vulnerability

My working relationship with Deb began a number of years ago through an online course in which we both participated – post-course, we agreed with a few colleagues to an online accountability relationship for positive steps we were all taking in our lives. During that time for me, Deb established her attention to detail and her accountability to both contribute input and to positively listen to each of the persons involved with the group. After that group ended, she and I personally kept in touch loosely over our blogposts and those posts of other online friends.

When Deb posted her “Sex Kitten” course for the first time, I was totally taken with the clever title and provocative content offered for positive and long-reaching advances in one’s personal and in one’s very personal life. I dialed in for a personal conversation about whether or not we were a match regarding present and future ambitions of mine and…….“the rest is history!”

But the rest, the rest being with Deb’s counsel, has been an interesting, innovating, expanding chapter in my life as a woman, a spouse, a creative artist. My spouse and I have always had what I considered an excellent life together – I did not anticipate an even better and the more intimate relationship that we now find ourselves living into every day. I’m no slouch in the confidence category but Deb has helped me face those teeny cracks of vulnerability that I sheltered, having helped me prosper mentally and physically at this stage of my life. My creative aspirations are blooming with no end in sight – LOTS more growth ahead for me.

I highly recommend a course with Deb or what she might call a non-course – that’s the arrangement we have now. Personal coaching on a regular basis – touching base on one’s own hiccups, one’s own dimension of daily life, whether it’s exercise, creative habits and/or reaching the next plateau or higher in all of the newness that still continues to unfold for me. I highly recommend Deb’s methods and courses! You won’t be sorry you signed on with Deb as your super-person sidekick!

Dianna Woolley, Abstract Artist

Love Yourself & Track Your Goals

I believe that if you were to really get to know all the sides of someone, you couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

What if YOU were that person?

Become Besotted. With Yourself. With Your Life.

Become Besotted will assist you in writing your story, a month at a time. An opportunity to get to know all sides of yourself and fall in love.

Become Besotted will also help you explore your dreams and desires. It will serve you in monitoring your victories and shedding what isn’t serving you.

You receive an in-depth questionnaire and 12 months to unfold your story and fall in love...

Purchase here.

Also in the Blog

I know that making the decision to choose happiness – especially when life feels pretty rotten – can be tough. That’s why, time after time, I turn to a collection of quotes to help remind me that making the choice to be happy is the path to actually BEING happier.

Click here to read==> 67 Quotes to Remind You That Choosing to Be Happy is the Best Decision Ever
Copyright © 2020 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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